Apple G5 harvest for August

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Apple ships its new G5 desktops, which CEO Steve Jobs has claimed will be the fastest computers on the planet, to Australian resellers this August.

The G5 release is concurrent with early stages of a local push by Apple reseller NextByte into ERP for the corporate space.

Adam Steinhardt, managing director at NextByte, said that the G5s were based on IBM's new PowerPC 970 chip with new clock speeds and other changes aimed at clawing back some of the QuarkXpress graphics and desktop publishing users lost when Mac OS X was released.

“They're claiming it will be the fastest computer in the world,” Steinhardt said. “Quark is a massive part of the graphics industry and...the designers I have spoken to had gone away from Apple as they perceived it to be not cheap and slow and without Quark it was a different story.”

Steinhardt argued that newer Macs were more competitive on price, with G4s coming down to $1,999, and the latest operating system was again compatible with QuarkXpress so the multimedia user tide was likely to swing back towards Apple.

NextByte had taken orders for “hundreds” of G5s, which come in 1.6GHz, 1.8GHz and 2GHz models, so far, he said. “They [can] have 2GHz dual processors running 64-bit. The tests performed have been significant in that they have shown the G5 performing better than a Xeon 3 GHz machine [using benchmark and Photoshop],” he said.

Apple had a long-range view of development which meant that models sometimes appeared to fall behind PCs in some areas because Apple “was designing machines for 2010”, Steinhardt said.

It has been reported that the Apple G5 tests were heavily weighted in favour of the Macintosh, using an inferior Dell product running Linux and a GCC compiler for comparison when higher benchmarks would have been achieved by using Windows and an Intel-optimised compiler. Critics have said that the Dell machines were capable of producing scores 30 to 40 percent higher than achieved by Apple.

Apple allegedly responded to the criticism by arguing that hardware performance was being tested, so it made better sense to use the same compiler on the G5 and the Dell. The G5 will support both 32-bit and 64-bit applications and has nine cooling fans.

Entry level machines, offered by NextByte to consumers for $3,599, will incorporate 1.6 GHz chip, an 800 MHz frontside bus, 256 MB of 333 MHz DDR memory, an 80 GB hard drive, NVidia GeForce FX 5300 graphics card with 64 MB of DDR RAM, three PCI slots and a 4X SuperDrive DVD-R/CR-RW. The most expensive version, offered by NextByte to consumers for $5,599, has dual 2 GHz chips, dual independent 1 GHz frontside buses, 512 MB of 400 MHz DDR memory, an 160 GB hard drive, Radeon 9600 Pro graphics card with 64 MB of DDR RAM, three PCI-X slots and the 4X SuperDrive.

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